Urgence Santé paramedics say a lack of ambulances in service is hurting response time.
Ambulances in Quebec are supposed to arrive at the scene of an emergency in 8 minute 59 seconds, but a federation representing some paramedics in Quebec says that only happens about 45 per cent of the time in Montreal and less often in Laval.
Federation president François Trudelle says that's mainly because the number of ambulances on the road does not grow with the demand and because paramedics have to spend too much time at the hospital when they drop off patients.
“Our job is to save lives, the deficiencies of the system tend to fall on our shoulders and we regret it, but we are not the ones that can change things,” Trudelle said.
“If we are able to be there as soon as possible, we might be able to save more lives.”
He says during the NDG fire that killed two people in January it took paramedics more than 20 minutes to arrive.
In another instance, he said it took him 28 minutes to get to a patient in Laval.
There were 134 ambulances on the road in Montreal and Laval in 2012, just three more than in 2003, even though 911 calls increased by 8.8 per cent during that time.